Apollo 13 Movie Physics Essay

1028 Words Nov 7th, 2012 5 Pages
Apollo 13 Essay Have you ever wondered what it would be like to fly in space or work on the crew at NASA that helps the astronauts get home safely? These two jobs both use many of the laws of physics. In fact, almost everything they do involves physics. Apollo 13 is a movie that epitomizes what those jobs are like and how much physics is required. The three main laws of physics in the movie were Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, Newton’s First Law, and Newton’s Third Law. One main law in Apollo 13 was Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation, defined as F=Gm1m2r2, where G=6.67×10-11. The first main scene in which this law was needed was when NASA decided that it would be best for the crew to take a free-return trajectory back to …show more content…
The third law that was very important in Apollo 13 was Newton’s Third Law which states to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The first main scene in which Newton’s Third Law was demonstrated was when the Apollo 13 crew had to execute a burn. By firing the main engine, they released gas particles into space, therefore applying an equal and opposite force on the ship. The burn was used to break free of the Earth’s gravity and to adjust the spacecraft’s trajectory slightly in order to make it home. Another main scene in which Newton’s Third Law was displayed was when the astronauts were in space, and they needed to move around in their spacecraft. In order to move, the astronauts had to apply a force in one direction in order to have a reaction force applied on them in the opposite direction. In 0g the astronauts could use their hands to push on other surfaces and move them in the opposite direction. The third main scene in which Newton’s Third Law was demonstrated was when the Apollo 13 spacecraft ejected small amounts of gases to adjust the trajectory of the ship by fine amounts. By ejecting small amounts of gases the ship was exerting a force in one direction and receiving an equal force in an opposite direction, and therefore changing its path. By releasing just the right amount of gases the spacecraft could change its trajectory to make it

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